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Nuku’alofa – November 28, 2019: 10am (Nuku’alofa Times): The Japanese government give grants to help a resilient Tonga with no strings attached, the local media were advised during a recent media tour organised by the Embassy of Japan here in Tonga earlier this month.

Japan has a “No Loans, Only Grants’ policy for Tonga and most of the Pacific Island Countries and Small Island Developing States.

Japanese Ambassador in Tonga Mr Tetsuya Ishii, while briefing members of the local media group on November 12 in Nuku;alofa, said that Japan’s relationship with Tonga is strong and focuses on partnerships that would help build the Kingdom and her people.

The Japanese Ambassador explaining a point during his media presentation. Photo: NUKU’ALOFA TIMES

And he told the media that “seeing is believing”.

“Japan eyes the relationship with Tonga as very important and we focus our development assistance through grants to projects that would help resilience within the local communities,” Mr Ishii said.

The Press Tour helped the local media understand the current and the latest on Japan’s economic assistance to the Kingdom of Tonga.

“The press tour is to deepen understanding on Japan’s economic assistance, based on the policy of “Seeing is Believing”,” Mr Ishii added.

He said the three values of Japan’s assistance “are long lasting, safe, and technologically

And he added that Japan placed a lot of importance on “persons to persons” relationships in
each of their project, no matter what size it is.

The tour began at the broadcasting building which is currently under construction next to the Tonga Broadcasting Commission in Fasi mo e Afi..

The building will house the “Project for Introduction of Nationwide Early Warning System and Strengthening Disaster Communications (the “NEWS” Project).

Press briefing at the NEWS project site in Fasi. Photo: NUKU’ALOFA TIMES

Mr. Keiji Nagai, the Construction Project Manager, led the project briefing on the
site, with the attendance of Hon. Poasi Tei, Tonga’s Minister for MEIDECC.

This project is funded through a Grant Aid from Japan with an approximate cost of $56 million Tongan Pa’anga.

The NEWS project will aim to reduce damage caused by natural disasters through
the improvement of facilities and equipment for disaster early warning information system,
which will operate at the all-embracing national level.

Its three main components are the Early Warning Sound Alert System with 75 outdoor sirens and
514 indoor Remote Activated Receivers (RARs); Emergency Radio Communication System
strengthening network to distribute messages interactively; and upgrading TBC headquarter
broadcasting building and the Public Radio Broadcasting Network to expand coverage of the
AM radio throughout the country including remote islands of Niuafo’ou and Niuatoputapu.

Hon Tei, while expressing his appreciation to the people of Japan, pointed out that this
project will further promote Tonga’s preparation for tsunami and cyclone and save lives as well as contributing to the employment opportunities in Tonga.

Close to 100 people are employed at the project site – with 85% local workers.

Visiting the kindergarten at the FWC in Fasi. Photo: NUKU’ALOFA TIMES

Japan’s GGP assistance on building a classroom for the Free Wesleyan Church Fasi moe Afi
Kindergarten, the JICA’s volunteer scheme and the teaching of soroban was also included in the press tour.

The GGP assistance for Fasi moe Afi Kindergarten, with a grant amount of USD$84,745,included the construction of the new kindergarten building, with two classrooms, one office room and a
bathroom facility.

Japan’s GGP was introduced in 1990 to respond directly to the basic human needs at the grassroots level, and by this year, 293 projects have been implemented.

The assistance proves Japan’s commitment to support efforts by the people and the Government of Tonga to ensure human security and continue to enrich the existing warm and close relations between the people and the Government of Japan and the people of the Kingdom of Tonga.

Soroban abacus demonstration for the media. Photo: NUKU’ALOFA TIMES

Demonstration and learning firsthand the basic of using soroban abacus inspired media representatives.

JICA’s volunteer program to Tonga started in 1973 and to date over 500 volunteer from Japan have
assisted Tonga in various fields.

Also, the media had an opportunity to meet one of JICA volunteers who is teaching soroban at
various primary schools.

The media reps acknowledged the Press Tour, adding that it is vital to better understand Japan’s
economic assistance so that they are able to better inform the people through their news coverage.



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